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Marco Aponte Moreno is currently Lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor) in Spanish at the University of Surrey (London, UK), where he is in charge of the International Business Management and Languages Program) and conducts research on "Cross-cultural Leadership" and "The role of language in international business"
Dissertation: Metaphors in Hugo Chávez's Political Discourse: Conceptualizing nation, Revolution, and Opposition

This dissertation provides the first comprehensive analysis of metaphors used by Hugo Chávez in his efforts to construct and legitimize his Bolivarian revolution. It focuses on metaphors drawn from three of his most frequent target domains: the nation, his revolution, and the opposition. It is argued that behind an official discourse of inclusion, Chávez's choice of metaphors contributes to the construction of a polarizing discourse of exclusion in which his political opponents are represented as enemies of the nation. Chávez constructs this polarizing discourse of exclusion by combining metaphors that conceptualize: (a) the nation as a person who has been resurrected by his government, as a person ready to fight for his revolution, or as Chávez himself; (b) the revolution as war; and (c) members of the opposition as war combatants or criminals. At the same time, by making explicit references in his discourse about the revolution as the continuation of Simón Bolívar's wars of independence, Chávez contributes to represent opponents as enemies of the nation, given that in the Venezuelan collective imaginary Bolívar is the symbol of the nation's emancipation.


Juan R. Valdez has taught at Michigan State University and the University of Wyoming and is currently Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. His first book, Tracing Dominican Identity: The Writings of Pedro henríquez Ureña was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2011.
Dissertation: Language, Race, and Identity in Pedro Henríquez Ureña's Dominican Oeuvre: A Study on Language Ideologies

In this dissertation, I have advanced an analysis of the complex interaction between the apparently ideologically neutral vision of Dominican Spanish produced by Pedro Henríquez Ureña and contemporary discourses of national identity in which race was a central theme. This type of contextualization (inspired by the school of critical linguistic historiography and language ideological research discussed in chapter two) is necessary if we are to fully understand the meaning and implications of the linguistic component of the great Dominican intellectual's oeuvre. As he engaged in the study of Spanish in Dominican Republic, he unquestionably made a major contribution to Dominican historiography and Spanish America's linguistic history. However, it is crucial to understand that, in the process, he also engaged in the erasure of certain aspects of that reality and in the production of an iconic representation of Dominican Spanish consistent with what the dominant intellectual tradition viewed as the most important component of its national culture: Hispanicness.

Laura Villa is Assistant Professor at the University of Dayton.
Dissertation: estandarización lingüística y construcción nacional: la norma española y la norma americana (1823-1857)

This dissertation analyzes five salient moments in the history of the standardization of the Spanish language that took place in the central decades of the nineteenth century: first, the reformed spelling system proposed in London by Andrés Bello and Juan García del Río in 1823 in order to promote Latin American literacy; second, the simultaneous officialization in 1844 of two different orthographic norms in Chile and Spain, both of them surrounded by intense ideological debates, the former led by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, the latter by a teachers' association established in Madrid; third, the publication in 1847 of Bello's grammar, which specifically targeted a Spanish American public; and finally, the official recognition of the Royal Spanish Academy's grammar in 1854 and its subsequent imposition in Spain's school system in 1857.

Linguistic Historiography has traditionally described standardization policies and their implementation in the nineteenth century as undisputed and ideologically neutral. In contrast, this study will unveil the complexity of the process and its deep political roots and ramifications. The standardization processes studied were embedded in broader nation-building projects and used the developing public school systems as mechanisms of promotion of a standard language and national consensus. Reading those five landmarks in the history of Spanish standardization against the socio-political context of the mid-nineteenth century nation-building project shows that taking into account the political prominence of Spanish-speaking intellectuals is crucial to understanding how the standard norms and the language authorities are formed. The focus will be on the role played by Latin American intellectuals in the development of an American Spanish norm as well as on the significant participation of members of the Royal Spanish Academy in the establishment of Spain's official variety in the 1840's and 1850's. Finally, I will analyze the connections between the Peninsular and the Latin American development of a standard language and national identities. The dialogue established between the standardization processes on both sides of the Atlantic contributes to a better understanding of past and present debates over Spanish language policies and the status of the Royal Spanish Academy in the Spanish-speaking world.